“And I will wait for the Lord who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob, I will even look eagerly for Him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.” Isaiah 8:17-18
We know there was 400 years of silence in the Bible from the last book in the Old Testament to the beginning of the New Testament. We know this was a dark time, and Isaiah is encouraging the people to wait, eagerly watching for the help of God alone. I am so thankful not to have been born during that period of time. That was a long period of silence, but we live in hindsight and know the outcome.
A more familiar verse from Isaiah this time of year is Isaiah 9:2:
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the Light will shine on them.”
It is the promise of the Light of the world, the Son of God becoming man and living among us. Emmanuel, God with us!
Our own nation has become very dark as it was then. The difference is we live after the Light of the World was revealed, crucified and resurrected. That means we are without excuse if we are walking in darkness. Jesus paid the price for our deliverance out of any darkness we have remained in. Christmas is a reminder and time of hope.
I absolutely love the Christmas season, because no matter what is going on in my life, if I focus on the true reason for the season, I am full of joy. Having lived through 65 Christmas seasons I have been surrounded by the darkness of life for multiple years, and periods that remained dark year after year as a result of divorce. But I have learned to not allow myself to be pulled into anything during the season that does not point me to the Light that can overcome the darkness. I refuse to be entertained by anything that diverts me from the wonder of it all concerning God becoming man.
I become very childlike and bright eyed considering the way God chose such ordinary people to perform the greatest event in history! It reminds me it is ok to be ordinary, because no one is just ordinary in His eyes. He created each one of us different and unique. There are no duplicates. I know no one can replace me in my Father’s heart, just as no one can replace any of my unique four children in my own heart.
I have come to realize I never have to be depressed at Christmas if I allow myself to remain wrapped tightly in His love. I do this by filling my mind with the truth of Scripture, and allowing God Himself to reveal the Christmas story to me. If you have never done that, let this Christmas be your first. You will find the holidays transformed into an eternal experience that will never lose its value, and you will be much better prepared to start a new year. It is definitely a win-win!
The key to a glorious Christmas is first spending more time alone with the Lord and learning His version of Christmas. Then when you do gather with your family you have something more to offer than just another glittering package that loses its gleam in a short amount of time. Material gifts use to mean more when I was growing up, because we didn’t have an abundance. We actually appreciated the indulged feeling of gifts, because it was a rare occasion. Anything beyond the basic needs was not taken for granted.
But you know what I can recall meaning a great deal to me even as a small child? It was the story of Jesus’ birth! At Oakland Elementary I hold the fondest memories of learning the Christmas carols and performing in the plays we did year after year. I was always an angel or Mary it seemed. I loved the lyrics in all the carols we sang proclaiming His birth, and I did ponder the words in my young heart as Mary did in Scripture.
When I was rearing my children, I diligently tried to teach them the true meaning of Christmas. I never entertained them very much at all with anything that diverted them from the truth of what it is all about, believing the Bible with all my heart. We did plays, made floats, and played in an orchestra proclaiming the good news through music, and we decorated our home extensively with manger scenes inside and out. We, as a family made a real effort to be a light wherever, and to whomever the Lord placed us. We actually moved multiple times, so our Christmas’ were never hum drum.
May I encourage you to teach your children to eagerly look for Him, as you do this Christmas, as we read in Isaiah? Santa Claus and Christmas becoming all about them leave them pretty empty, and lessens their ability to look beyond themselves.
The truth about Christmas is the greatest love story ever told. Our children desperately need to be taught a standard of living beyond the Santa Claus version. God loved us while we were naughty, and sent His only Son into the world so that we might be forgiven and cleansed, and not get what we deserve. I require a lot of mercy and grace. I am not always nice, but I know I do not have to despair, because I know the true meaning of Christmas, and so do my children. He did not come to judge and condemn the world, but to save us! He came to die as the sacrificial Lamb, who was perfect without sin. Revelation 5:9 proclaims:
“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “
Allow this truth to define your value, and then impart it to your children, revealing their true value. You were purchased not with gold or silver, but with the blood of the baby who came in a manger, and who lived and grew among us to pay the price to restore us to our rightful owner, God, Himself, our Heavenly Father. Tell them we do not only look eagerly for Him at Christmas, but now we are eagerly watching for His return to earth as reigning King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and that will be joining Him when Christ returns, and shall be forever together! Please allow the truth about Christ-mas to lift you and your family out of the deceitful riches and distractions of this world into a heavenly realm soon to become our eternal home forever and ever. Amen!
In His love.
I was lifted in the heavenly realm spending treasured time with my daughter and precious grandchildren. Unfortunately Zach had to work.